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Anxiety Makes Me Avoid Confrontation at All Costs

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This piece was written by Holly Riordan, a Thought Catalog contributor

I hate confrontation. I avoid arguments at all costs. I will let people walk over me if the alternative means looking them in the eyes and standing up for myself. I never want to cause a disturbance. I never want to ruin the peace. I would rather complain inside of my head (and again once I’m with friends I trust) than say something in the moment. The last thing I want is to make a scene.

Besides, I am terrified of people not liking me. I will “yes” them to death if I think they will like me better. I will do whatever possible to keep them happy with me because the thought of annoying someone brings me stress. I don’t want anyone mad at me. I want them to want me around.

When someone raises their voice at me, I have to hold back tears. I do not like yelling. I do not like conflict. It makes me feel even more uncomfortable than I already do on a daily basis.

If I have to approach someone with a problem, I will plan what I am going to say inside of my head for hours beforehand while I’m in the shower or driving down the highway. Even if I have every word of my speech memorized, once I get in front of the other person, I will decide to say something different. Something a little nicer. Something a little less rough. I will keep my tone light. I will keep my words kind. I might be pissed off at them, but they would never be able to tell because of how calm I sound. I try to phrase everything respectfully even when my blood is boiling.

I have always sucked at confrontation. I will end up apologizing to someone I was originally pissed at in order to fill the silence. I will end up feeling guilty when I didn’t even do anything wrong.

It’s why people have taken advantage of me in the past. They know they can hurt me and I won’t say a word. I will go along with it. I will treat them with kindness even when they treat me like a piece of shit.

I am terrified of drawing attention to myself, which is why I will keep my lips pressed tightly together in the back of a room instead of standing up and speaking my mind. I will choose silence over conflict every single time, even if that means making my life more difficult than it needs to be.

I have cried myself to sleep over comments people have made about me, even though I acted like they didn’t bother me in the moment. I am good at pretending because I am always putting on an act of some sort. Acting like I am comfortable in social situations. Acting like I couldn’t care less when something goes wrong. Acting like I am OK when I am screaming inside.

My anxiety makes it hard for me to stand up for myself. It makes it hard for me to do much of anything.

This story was brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

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Unsplash photo via Tiko Giorgadze

Originally published: June 19, 2018
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